Do You Take Responsibility for your Emotional Responses?

Dr. Nicole gives us some examples of how we might says things in response to “triggers”… or, things that are said that are our “buttons” that get pushed when someone says something that we are sensitive to due to our brokenness.

One of the by-products of reacting in these scenarios, is that we don’t necessarily take responsibility for our “deflective and protective comebacks, because we feel attacked, or perhaps our insecurities are pricked and we may use sarcasm as an example in retaliation.(Deflection).

But these things are not an excuse for poor behavior, and hurtful, isolating comments are not justified under these circumstances. The only way to effectively respond, (as opposed to reacting), is to take responsibility. But how?

First, you have to do the work. If you don’t, the unhealed broken areas of your heart are bitter, unforgiving, hurt, over-sensitive, etc. These are raw root systems that are easily triggered. One of my favorite reminder sayings is, “I wouldn’t be so offended if I wasn’t so alive.” Meaning, that due to my unhealed areas, i am to “alive” to the offenses of life. If I am not healed emotionally, I will easily shirk responsibility and deflect, because I feel offended or even victimized by the other.

In relationships it’s equally important to do the work as a couple as you do your own individual work. In this way, instead of being triggered, you can each take responsibility and learn your own, and the others triggers becoming sensitized in a healthy way; thus taking responsibility for listening with a different filter, and responding in a healthy way as opposed to an offensive or deflective manner, as demonstrated in the graphic above. Learning the other person’s heart and trusting each other’s love is crucial in stopping the reactionary mechanisms.

The following list includes some of the most common emotional triggers, meaning you react when you feel as though you aren’t getting or will not get one of these needs met.

acceptance                   respect                      be liked

be understood              be needed                 be valued

be in control                 be right                      be treated fairly

attention                       comfort                      freedom

peacefulness               balance                      consistency

order                            predictability              love

safety                           feel included              autonomy

fun                               new challenges          independence 

When these basic needs are not met, and also depending on temperament, there will likely be triggers. Learn them, what’s broken in your reactions, and in the other person, and both your needs can begin to be met, instead of perpetually cycling through trigger-reaction cycles.

BH/Contribution: Dr. Nicole LePera

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